There’s an old saying in fitness circles: “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
What that means is you can do all the sit-ups and crunches you want, you can exercise at home all day long, but you’re never going to get that six-pack abdomen if you don’t take control of the quantity and quality of the foods you’re eating.
Is Exercise at Home for Weight Loss Worth the Effort?
We’ve talked before about how exercise alone is not enough for weight loss. There are several reasons for this—most having to do with the fact that it’s tough to exercise and effortless to eat. Even when you do manage to work out and burn a lot more calories than usual, all too often, you’ll eat even more to make up for it. It’s what your body wants you to do.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise.
The Benefits of Exercise at Home Go Far Beyond Weight Loss.
When you exercise, you strengthen your muscles and bones. You increase your chances of living longer. You reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. You help manage blood sugar and insulin levels. You keep your cognitive skills sharp while improving your mental health and mood. You sleep better.
The arguments in favor of exercise are overwhelming and endless, and we heartily endorse them. For all those reasons and more, you should be out there exercising most every day. You should be getting regular cardio exercise for your heart and lungs, you should be strength training for your muscles and bones, and you should be rounding it all off with some simple, feel-good stretches.
Take Control of Your Diet for Weight Loss.
If your weight is a primary concern for you, by all means, continue to exercise. You can’t beat exercise for your overall health and fitness. But if you want to lose weight, you’re also going to need to start watching what you eat. Cut back on the high calorie, nutrition-poor junk foods. Cut back on the alcohol. Focus on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and whole grains that provide you with long-lasting energy, so you’re not tempted by the bad stuff as you’re recovering from an intense workout. You won’t go wrong with a Mediterranean or DASH diet.
The Best At-Home Exercises for Weight Loss.
With all that out of the way, let’s get back to the question of the day. What are the best exercises at home for losing weight? As long as you’re also keeping track of your calories (via food consumption), what are some of the best ways to get calories out? For most of these options, you can get by with minimal at-home exercise equipment.
Resistance Training — This might seem like an odd place to start since weight loss generally focuses on burning as many calories as you can. Resistance training, though, while it doesn’t seem to burn a relatively large amount of calories during exercise, offers the benefit of an increased post-exercise burn that can last for days. Whether you use free weights, machines, bands, or even just bodyweight, resistance training builds muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism. That means more calories burned. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment, either. Check out the best home exercise kit for you.
Jumping Rope — If you want to straight-up burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time, grab a jump rope. You might remember this as being easy in elementary school, but you’re not a kid anymore. Jumping rope will give you an intense calorie burn for as long as you can keep it up … which for most people, just starting is maybe 20 or 30 seconds. So take it easy at first as you slowly build up your skill and tolerance.
HIIT — High-Intensity Interval Training has been the gym darling of recent years, or at least it was until we all stopped going to the gym. Alternating short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise, HIIT is great for improved cardio health. It’s also burns calories in half the time of continuous exercise routines. (Again, though, that calorie burn can be misleading when it comes to weight loss. You’ve got to watch what you eat!)
Kickboxing — Even if you don’t have something or someone to hit, kickboxing is a great workout for cardio health, muscle strength, and balance training. It’s also a lot of fun and a great way to burn several hundred calories in a 30-minute session.
Walking — Running may get all the glory, but you can walk with much less risk of injury. And you’ll still get all the benefits of running—you just have to walk longer. And we’ve all got the time these days.
Cycling— If you’ve got access to a bike, whether indoors or out, a 45-minute spin session can be a great calorie blowout.
Swimming — Are you fortunate enough to have a backyard pool? Can we come over? You can’t beat swimming for a great full-body workout. Burn calories and tone muscles while taking a refreshing dip in the water. What’s not to love?
Rowing — A rowing machine is maybe too specialized a piece of equipment for your home gym, but they’re becoming more popular with plenty of companies introducing new options. And rowing is a great full-body workout that will build strength and burn calories.
Choosing your routine for working out at home can be difficult, especially when you are trying to lose weight at the same time. Try out these exercises and decide which movements are right for you. As always, refer to Prepak's videos for instructions on how to complete these workouts. We're here to support you on your weight-loss journey!